Marketing for very specialized translators
Introduction to the Marketing Tips for Translators blog
February 2, 2014
Discover how you can become a successful freelance translator
How to Become a Successful Freelance Translator
February 18, 2014

Episode 005 – Marketing for very specialized translators – Interview with Karen Tkaczyk

This episode is focusing on marketing for very specialized translators. I interview Karen Tkaczyk, who has a Phd in Chemistry and specializes in chemicals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics and translates from French into English. Karen discusses how she markets her translation services and pros and cons of specializing.

In this episode we cover the following:

  • How a newly graduated translator can become specialized
  • Pros and cons of specializing
  • How to market as a specialized translator
  • Where to find customers as a specialized translator
  • What marketing methods work best for Karen

 Links to items mentioned in this podcast:

I hope you enjoyed listening to the interview as much as I enjoyed interviewing. Feel free to comment below, or drop me a line if you have any questions or marketing tips to share. Have a great day! PS! If you got a minute and use iTunes, please give a review of the podcast, in order for it to be available for even more freelance translators. Thanks!


Karen Tkaczyk

Karen Tkaczyk

Karen works as a French into English freelance translator (MITI and ATA-certified). Her translation work is highly specialized, being entirely focused on chemistry and its industrial applications. She holds an MChem in Chemistry with French (University of Manchester, UK), a Diploma in French and a PhD in Organic Chemistry (University of Cambridge, UK). She worked in the pharmaceutical industry in Europe, then after relocating in 1999, in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics in the US. She became a professional translator in 2005. Karen is the current administrator of ATA’s Science and Technology Division.


This podcast is a labor of love and brought to you free of charge. If you enjoy this series and would like to show your support, please consider making a small donation to ensure I can keep offering you great content in the future.


  1. Thanks for having me, Tess! I will look forward to future episodes.

  2. Sarah says:

    Great interview, thanks Tess and Karen.

    I was especially interested to hear that Karen was in a position to turn down work relatively quickly after starting up, in spite of her rates being what might be considered as high at the time. I had a very similar experience, which does seem to run contrary to most of the start-up stories I hear.

    I wonder how much of a role rates play in the success of newcomers to the translation industry? Price is a key part of the marketing mix so clearly we send a message about ourselves with the rates we set. Or maybe it’s just that newly established translators who do charge relatively high rates have stronger business skills to start with, which is what contributes to their success… food for thought!

  3. Sarah Silva says:

    Really enjoyed listening to this interview, thanks Tess and Karen. I also specialise in chemistry and found myself turning down work within weeks. There was also a little bit of luck involved, finding one agency whose go-to chemical translator had just retired!
    In comparison to Karen I do regret offering what I now consider to be low rates 6 years ago (though I was still deemed by some agencies to be too expensive). But I’m now more experienced, wiser and confident I have bags of added value to offer my clients.

    • Tess says:

      Thanks Sarah! Seems like the perfect starting situation for you. I hope you have been able to raise your rates to existing clients as your experience has grown. It is doable.

    • Sarah,
      So I’m not the only specialist who credits that for success! I’m glad you enjoyed it. One new client at a time, we can increase our rates gradually.

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